How To Combat The Forgetting Curve

How many times have you focused really hard in an effort to learn something once just to forget it later on? For most of us, it’s a regular occurrence. Over time, memories fade. Good memories, bad memories, important memories…all of them. That doesn’t mean we forget everything entirely – just that the details become fuzzy. If those details are important, that could be a serious problem.

The forgetting curve is a hypothesis that attempts to illustrate the loss of memory over time with no attempt to retain it. The idea began in the 1880s when Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted a study on himself. He tried to memorize patterns of syllables and then tested his memory of those syllables repeatedly over time. What he found after graphing his results is now commonly known as the Forgetting Curve.

After his study, Ebbinghaus surmised that humans lose ~50% of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days without continuous review. You’re wasting your time training and learning just so you can forget half of it. Try remembering that information weeks or months later and you’d be lucky to remember 10-25% of it.

The best way to combat the forgetting curve is by spending time on retention and reinforcement. Remembering the knowledge learned from one-time trainings is difficult. But when it comes to business, forgetting is costly. One-time trainings cost a lot, and if your learners aren’t retaining what they learned, that money was for nothing. Reviewing material regularly greatly helps reduce forgetfulness and saves money for your organization.

 

Blended Learning and Sustainment

 

increasing employee training with reinforcement training 2

 

Refresher training adds to the concept of blended learning. Your learners retain information and knowledge better and for longer if they’re taught through a mixture of learning methods. That could be combining eLearning with face-to-face for instance.

Every learner has a unique learning style. By blending your training approach, you have a better chance of catering to the needs of each of your learners.

It’s not only about the learners, though. Blended learning benefits the teacher, too. New, different training modalities are often more affordable and require less time than older ones. Students are often more engaged, and you’ll be more able to provide accurate feedback. Blended learning also allows teachers to focus on motivating learners towards deeper learning.

With regards to memory, a learner is far more likely to pay attention to and remember information when they’re interested and focused. Varying training modalities increases the odds that your learners will find it interesting.

 

What Makes for Ideal Refresher Training?

There are certain traits that make for successful refresher training:

• Quick
Learners are busy. Sustainment training options need to be speedy, valuable, and allow learners to practice with minimal disruption. 

• Compelling and Clear
Training options should be fun and interactive while keeping language clear and concise to simplify complex concepts.

• Contextual
Refresher training has to fit with your learners’ experiences and be relevant to their day-to-day jobs. That can only be accomplished with an understanding of your learners and what they do and then catering to their real-world experiences.

 

The Case for Shorter Event-Based Trainings

 

increasing employee training with reinforcement training 3

 

Event-based trainings are still very popular among many companies and rightfully so. Instructor-led trainings have their place in unifying a team, sharing a consistent message, and sometimes forcing your employees not to be distracted when sharing vital information.

However, we’ve seen that if you reduce your two-day training down to one-day and use the saved expenses for pre-work and post-event refreshers, your message will be stickier and have more of an impact on learners.

Consider the following illustration we mocked up for one of our clients to visualize the potential savings gained from shortening, blending, and making your training virtual – all-the-while adding reinforcement and the ability to reuse and scale!

The results, in this case, were significant. This company saw a similar satisfaction score from transitioning their previous event-based training to virtual instructor-led training and better yet, they were able to prove ROI with knowledge checks and quizzes.

 

Refresher Training Options

Today, blended learning options that combat the conundrum of forgetfulness are as diverse as your learners. Here are a few sustainment options that should be considered in your training curriculum:

• Interactive Presentations
Interactive presentations act as two tools in one. Learners are able to reinforce knowledge and visualize complex products and services (ex. the difference between internet speeds) by using interactive modules. These presentations can also switch to a “Perform” mode to be used and shared with prospects or clients. Robust reporting measures all user activity so managers can provide guidance for their learners.

• Huddles
Huddles are in-person refresher training that drives retention by using fast-paced, hands-on activities. Facilitators lead Huddles to help employees review specific learning objectives, practice skills and behaviors, and get feedback on the spot. They’re also super easy to facilitate as each one comes with a playbook providing step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for and run a Huddle.

• Games
Studies show that games train the brain by engaging with social and competitive elements. These elements heighten attention, sustain focus, and drive action. And let’s be real, they’re fun. The results speak for themselves:

• 3x increase in training material interactions
• 64% improvement in knowledge from beginning to end of a game Plain and simple, training for one day a year does not work.

Don’t waste your money and time on training that won’t be remembered a week later. It’s time to give your learners valuable refreshers in the flow of their work and for you to stop hitting your head against a wall wondering why skills are not improving and behaviors are not changing.

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Is Product Recommendation Software Right for You?

Forbes reports that 57% of sales reps missed their quota last year. While that statistic is alarming, the critical question that managers need to ask is why. Why aren’t reps knocking every single sale out of the park? Sales can be an area of high turnover, so maybe they’re not all up to speed, they’re struggling with product positioning, or they aren’t strong at interpreting and identifying the needs of a customer. Sales managers want their reps to hit more home runs – and product recommendation software is a big bat.

If you don’t have great selling aids, it’s time to consider what benefits come with the use of a guided selling tool. It enables new sales reps to get up to speed more quickly, helps reps keep their messaging consistent, and ultimately leads to the right recommendation for your customers. Think of your best salesperson. A guided selling tool basically lets you clone that person and have them in the sales conversation with all of your reps.

Product Recommendation Software, like all tools, is designed to help you achieve what would otherwise be much harder without the assistance – so much so that we’ve seen close rates increase by 40% when product recommendation software has been used.

 

So, What is Product Recommendation Software?

Before considering what to look for, it’s important that you understand exactly what product recommendation software is. In short, it’s a software application that enables reps to deliver excellent sales experiences and recommendations through a conditional, needs-based assessment. With this software’s help, reps are better able to guide customers and generate trust and confidence.

Benefits of guided selling:

  • Onboards reps faster
  • Increases sales productivity
  • Engages buyers with an interactive buying experience
  • Delivers an accurate and highly-personalized buyer experience with real-time leave behinds
  • Replicates and automates what works for top performers

Product recommendation is an art that enables the asking of intelligent questions and then uses customer response to drive recommendations and guided up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Isn’t that what any customer and sales rep would want?

 

9 Essential Considerations

Now that you see the problem and understand a potential solution, you’re on to something. Here are some considerations for you before adding product recommendation to your toolbox:

 

WHY YOU MIGHT WANT IT WHY YOU MIGHT NOT

SHORTEN TRAINING TIME

Product Recommendation Software allows your reps to get up to speed more quickly because they have a tool to help them and because that tool doubles as a training aid.

INCONSISTENT MESSAGING

If you have a brand-new team still looking to establish itself and figure out what works, you’re messaging might not be consistent enough, yet.

ACCURATE PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS

If your reps are using a tool that has the correct information, they’re far less likely to make a wrong recommendation.

DON’T KNOW WHAT WORKS

If you haven’t figured out your “special sauce” yet, it’s difficult to scale what works. It helps to figure out sells within your organization as a foundation before incorporating this software.

BUYER-LED JOURNEY

Potential buyers can interact with the tool and feel ownership of the process – leading them to feel less “sold to” and reducing the chances of an incorrect recommendation.

LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE

Perhaps you don’t have the infrastructure to capitalize on the rich data insights Product Recommendation Software can provide. If you can’t harness the full functionality of the tool, it might not be worth it for your organization.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Product Recommendation Software has the ability to delight customers by providing an interactive experience and better recommendations.

REDUCE FOLLOW-UP TIME

You can send follow-up communications immediately either during or after a meeting to keep the pipeline moving and keep your reps selling.

ENGAGE MORE PROSPECTS

With shorter, more precise sales meetings, your reps are more available.

 

Does This Sound Like Something That’s Right for You

We’re not talking about a CRM or refresher training. We’re talking about focusing on your customers, their experience, their trust, and ultimately – their purchase.

If you’re looking for a sales aid that’s consistent, up-to-date, personalized, digital, mobile, and has shown consistent results like 60% increase in YOY sales and 40% increase in rep productivity, then using product recommendation software could be a solution for your company.

Give your customers exactly what they want at the right price—without second-guessing your product recommendations or quotes.

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Announcing the Spoke Assessment Builder

Great news! You can now build, configure, and assign a quiz or poll within Spoke LMS. Spoke assessment builder will help you save time creating assessments and lets you track your team’s progress, all in one place.

Let’s have a look.

 

Building an Assessment

Creating assessments in Spoke is a breeze. You don’t have to bother with an external authoring tool or worry about uploading a SCORM file—you can do it all right within the app. First, you’ll enter assessment details like title, description, and duration. You can attach the assessment to an existing course pack or course, and toggle key settings on and off, like learner reviews, coin value, and notifications.

 

 

 

Then, create your questions. You can choose from multiple choice, multiple select, and true/false format depending on your needs. If you’ve already written the questions, you can copy and paste content from another document, or draft questions right in the app. Once your questions are in good shape, choose whether to assign a deadline or track compliance, and you’re good to go.

 

Accounting for Learner Experience

Assessments are easy for learners to access, appearing right alongside courses in a typical course pack. You may instruct learners to complete a course before taking an assessment, or you might create a baseline or pre-assessment for them to take before training. As soon as they complete an assessment, learners see immediate results and are able to identify improvement opportunities. They can also keep track of overall scores and compliance status over time by viewing a report.

 

Team Data

Inside Spoke Reports, you can keep track of your team’s results and drill down to see individual learner data. This empowers you to create coaching opportunities based on each learner’s knowledge and skill gaps.

Spoke’s Assessment Builder makes it easier than ever to create assessments, track progress, and see trends over time.

 

Ready to make assessments more impactful? Request a demo of Spoke or attend an upcoming Spoke webinar.

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Take Your Training Beyond Gamification

As gamification has been an increasingly popular training technique to motivate modern learners over the past decade, we’re sure you’ve applied some of these practices to increase engagement and reinforce learning with your employees. But if you haven’t started using actual games in your training yet, you should look to this opportunity as a way to have an even greater impact on your learners.

The enemy of modern training is distraction, and games have been scientifically proven to heighten attention, sustain focus, and drive action. It’s time to go beyond gamification with your training.

You might be asking yourself, “Great, I’m sold on using games in training, but what are the best practices when implementing games into my training programs?” Answer: Games have the most significant effect on learner behavior when used to reinforce and sustain new learning.

This means it’s probably not the best idea to use games to introduce brand new product or compliance information. Here are some best practices questions to consider before jumping into games (pun intended):

  • What skills do you want your learners to gain?

Are you looking for your learners to be able to explain, infer, relate, solve, interpret, or recognize? The type of outcome you want will change which game you should choose.

  • What type of setting will the training take place?

Will your learners be taking a self-paced course where they’ll likely be competing against themselves or will this be used at a live training event with many people playing the game at once?

  • Do you want the game to be collaborative or competitive?

Each group of learners have different preferences. Your sales team might enjoy a competitive game more than a collaborative game, but you need to know your learners and what motivates them.

  • What type of performance objectives are you looking for?

Similar but slightly different than the skills question, when your learners finish their training, what part of their performance should improve? Strategic thinking, knowledge acquisition, or increase in comprehension?

Data has shown that through games, learner engagement increases from a few minutes to an average of 10 minutes of practice. Additionally, through repetition, we’ve seen a knowledge lift of 63% by the third encounter with the reinforcement material.

We’re Game

Before you start asking around the office for a coder, we can help! Unboxed can now create a variety of games for your team. Check out our games page for more information.

 

Game Description When to Use
Jeopardy Traditional Jeopardy format Assess and reinforce hard skills and soft skills
Jump Mobile-style arcade game Memorization of key info turned fun and competitive
Trivia Complete with points, streaks, and leaderboards Transform traditional assessments
Match Mobile-style match-3 game Memorization of key info turned fun and competitive
Scramble Reorder scrambled sentences Test terminology retention
Scenarios Realistic contextual simulations Assess cause and effect decision making
Sort-It Sort answers into correct categories Practice strategic thinking skills
Recall Recall info from a video or image Encourage visual learning and memorization

 

Need more?

Listen to a recording of our webinar, “Beyond Gamification: 3 Secrets on How To Level Up Your Training With Games.”

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3 Secrets on How to Level Up Your Training with Games

Gamification has become an increasingly popular technique to motivate and engage modern learners over the past few years. But gamification can only motivate a learner but so far. Join us to find out what 3 secrets you can apply to experience growth on learner attention, engagement, and knowledge retention.

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The 5 Fundamentals of Great Sales Training Videos

An alarming 66% of sales teams describe their training as irrelevant. Knowing 75% of employees are more likely to watch a video than read text, how do you create sales training videos that wow and make a positive impact on the bottom line? Here at Unboxed, we’ve been creating training videos that learners actually want to watch, and we’ve seen encouraging results, like a 15-60% increase in year over year sales.

When creating a custom sales program, you should use video strategically to show and reinforce the behaviors you’re teaching. Here are the five fundamentals of great sales training videos to guide your content creation.

 

1. Custom Sales Training Video Content

The first place to start is making sure your content is specific to your organization. There are plenty of generic sales training videos out there, but you can’t count on them to give you the positive results you’re looking for. Why? Because your team is less likely to take it seriously and the real impact comes from videos that match your organization’s specific culture, sales process, products, and challenges.

Your team is unique, and their training should be too. Show that you are investing in their success with custom content.

 

2. Real World Scenarios

Along the same lines, your sales training videos should address realistic scenarios that your teams encounter every day. To make sure our training content is as authentic as possible, we interview sales team members in the field and other subject matter experts to gut check scenarios that we’d like to include.

In addition to real scenarios, your script has to sound that way too. To accomplish this, use conversational language and contractions (hasn’t, won’t, couldn’t, isn’t, etc.). Try your best to listen to actual sales conversations either by observing on a ride along or listening in on a sales call. When you’re done with your first draft, send the script to a few rock star sales team members to get their feedback. When your scenarios and scripting are as true-to-life as possible, you’ll gain your learner’s credibility and they’ll want to learn from you.

 Great Sales Training Videos_2 

3. Professional Quality

If the acting is bad in a movie or show, you’re less likely to watch it, right? The same goes for sales training videos. If you want your learners to take the content seriously, and engage with it, the quality should be professional. This means everything from the filming, to the lighting, sound, and talent should be as polished as can be.

As Hollywood enhances their quality, the modern learner’s expectations rise too. If you sacrifice on quality, you run the risk of losing your audience’s attention and your credibility.

You may be thinking, “professional talent sounds expensive.” While a lot of organizations try to cut corners and use internal team members instead of professional talent, we advise against this. Ultimately, you won’t save as much as you think, and you’ve now gambled with the main focal point of your sales training video. Remember to try and eliminate as many distractions for your learners as possible.

 

4. Use a Creative Concept

Your training videos shouldn’t be a narrator or person in leadership talking to the camera the whole time. It’s best to use a creative concept where you can set clear expectations and show what those behaviors look like in a fun, engaging way. After all, it’s much more powerful to show than just tell.

Think outside the box when it comes to your creative concept. Can you find inspiration from a popular show? Would it work to show a compare and contrast of a team member who portrays good behaviors vs. a team member who uses great behaviors? As you’re brainstorming, consider themes that will fit with your culture and entertain and motivate your learners.

 

5. Show Positive & Negative Outcomes

Sales training videos provide learners with a safe space to learn. That’s why we use video simulations whenever possible. A simulation let’s a learner see a scenario play out, respond how they would handle it, and see what happens as a result. If they get the answer wrong, they’ll see the outcome (maybe it’s awkward silence or confusion from their customer), either way, they get to see the result of not using the best-in-class behavior. We know learners are going to make mistakes, and that’s okay. We’d just rather have them happen during training instead of real customer conversations.

To learn more about creating amazing training videos, check out our free guide, Employee Training Video Production – Humanized, and learn what to expect during pre-production, production, and post-production.

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5 Impactful L&D Trends to Watch in 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, many L&D leaders are beginning to explore the top learning and development trends of 2019. As you weigh needs and resources, we wanted to give you some early insights to support your planning. The topics in our list of 2019 L&D trends are based on our experience working with a diverse group of clients and our steady research.

Learning and development is transforming at a quicker clip in recent years as a crop of new technologies like virtual and augmented reality, automation, and artificial intelligence disrupt our expectations for engaging, action-oriented learning.

Below are the five top trends in training and development we believe you need to watch and discuss with your teams as you plan for 2019.

 

Trend #1: Making Learning More Accessible

As our roles become more complex and the way we work more dynamic, L&D needs to provide access to training “anytime, anywhere, on any device.” Waiting in line? Pull up a simulation on your phone and review. In a lull between meetings? Jump on your computer and work through an interactive learning guide.

Creating this level of accessibility has its challenges, but it’s worth it. That’s why it tops our list of L&D trends to watch in 2019.

A recent Gartner study found, “The effortless learning experience has the greatest impact on learning application and digital learners value it the most.” Learners cited “Ease of career application, ease of access, and ease of consumability” as the three most important factors with training.

 

2019 L&D trends - making learning accessible

 

Micro-learning and accessible learning go hand in hand. The process of repackaging training for agility also sets you up for quicker, more efficient development of training. When a role responsibility changes, your trainers won’t have to update an entire course or video if the material is broken into smaller pieces. They’ll find the segment that needs to be updated instead of recreating the entire piece. Your L&D teams will be quicker to tweak courses with more granular access to the content. If learners are struggling with a concept, they might reorder the course or repackage that segment to increase effectiveness.

Making training into smaller bites isn’t enough to meet your learnings in any situation. If your courses are available on a phone, but are impossible to work through on that device, the learner will walk away. Designing training that considers the advantages and challenges of each device is key to making learning easier to digest.

There’s an added benefit to structuring your training this way. Your material becomes a rich resource for your managers to extend formal training and reteach concepts when team members are struggling. Organizing these resources in a system that tracks usage will help your L&D team prioritize training development, and this data is an important point of reference when discussing ROI for training offerings.

 

Trend #2: Exploring Immersive Technology

Much of the current excitement around augmented reality and virtual reality is centered around gaming, but these technologies will have a larger, lasting impact on the L&D. A 2018 Capterra survey on top tech trends found as many as 46% of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses are looking into leveraging VR in the next two years.

Virtual and augmented reality are becoming more accessible each year. These emerging technologies have the greatest potential to help manage change in an organization. AR/VR replaces traditional courses and assessments with a single solution where the mastery required is taught and practiced in a simulated environment.

Imagine sales training where a new hire learns your company’s sales process (knowledge acquisition) then immediately enters a scenario to practice and refine learning through a pair of glasses or VR goggles (skill building). Each stage of your process would have this balance of learning then showing what you’ve learned. i.e. This is how you pitch to the decision-maker.  You try it. This is how you get the SOW through legal. Now you do it.

Virtual simulations like these provide rich, emotionally connected experiences that feel real. No one loses a real client in virtual reality, but a well-designed virtual scenario will evoke the same emotions associated with a loss in the learner. In other words, it will feel real.

The process can be slowed or broken down so each step of a call can be evaluated and practiced. Variations on the core simulations help learners extend their learning into new products and markets.

2019 is the year to start giving these new technologies some of your time and resources. You might not be ready to jump in with both feet, but investing in a VR system and testing out some of the early L&D resources would be a measured first step. If this is too much of an investment now, read up on the companies that are early adopters. Learn from their experiences now so you are ready when the price allows your company to jump in.

 

Trend #3: Designing Training for Sustainment and Retention

Whether custom-designed or off-the-shelf, the impact of your training will be minimal if your organization doesn’t have a plan for application and reflection in the field after the training is complete. All instruction, especially skills-based training, requires validation and reinforcement.

Effective training is not a “one and done” event. Smart companies recognize the real change happens when the team walks into the field with their new learning in hand and starts putting it into practice. These companies design training with the longer view of change in mind.

The goal of refresher training is to sustain learning, increase knowledge retention, and fight the forgetting curve. People forget 50% of what the learn in 1 hour. 70% within 24 hours. And 90% within a week.

Learners need more than simple reminders. Reminders are not reinforcement. Reinforcement should be positioned as a part of your learner’s overall experience. Managers, too, should be equipped to coach their teams to success. Review your training and provide your leaders with the tools they need to support their teams as they put training into practice.

 

Trend #4: Embracing Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and machine learning stand to make two significant impacts on how we learn in the coming year – personalization and measuring effectiveness.

This rapidly growing technology will continue to change how we consume training. IBM recently noted by applying AI to a workplace, “employees can receive more personalized recommendations to facilitate evergreen, curated learning paths and anticipatory career management.” Applying AI to an LMS will create a learning environment highly tailored to the individual employee.

We see the consumer application of this all the time. Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook are using AI/machine learning to deliver personalized recommendations each time you visit. This same smart curation applied to your learning environment will create more engaging, timely experiences for your employees.

AI’s more significant impact will be around measuring effectiveness. It’s a vexing issue for any company. You create a well-designed, sound learning experience for a team, the trainers deliver as well as you expected, and you’re left feeling good about the L&D team’s performance.

Oh, you’re also left with the little voice asking, “But how effective was it?”

AI already has the tools to answer that question. For example, face-recognition technology we see in our phones could be leveraged in training, role-playing, simulations, and in the field to assess how each learner is applying new learning. Based on that assessment, the learner could be directed back into the LMS where custom follow-up training is waiting for them.

We know. It sounds like science fiction. But it’s here. You stand to lose real money and market share if your training isn’t agile.  AI is a cost-effective way to manage that flexibility. It will give your L&D teams more time improve the quality of training. Make it a tentpole of your 2019 strategy.

 

Trend #5: Accepting Automation

“The Bots are coming!  The Bots are coming!” – Paul Revere on Facebook Messenger

Much of the focus of bots in the news has been on how a coming “Bot-pocolypse” will result in major job losses. This alarmist perspective mischaracterizes how bots are impacting work. They’re being used most often in places where we look for answers and to augment services, but they are not coming for our jobs.

The rise of customer support chatbots and chatbot integrations in communication apps creates two unique L&D opportunities.

  1. The bots themselves become vehicles to quickly place training in front of employees.  Remember, “anytime, anywhere, any device?”
  2. Using a chatbot system to distribute your training literally puts the learning at their fingertips—or thumbs.

As these bots help employees and customers and take over repetitive, process-oriented tasks that provide little meaning to us humans, they will make our work more engaging. The Training Journal points out, “Increasingly, businesses will look to automation to handle technical and process-driven tasks, and they’ll look to their people to spend more time on value-add tasks, which require creative and objective thought.”

Companies embracing automation need to work closely with L&D to teach employees how to work alongside these new tools. As work becomes more creative and objective, the role of L&D will shift along with our teams in response to automation. L&D must ensure workplace training is designed and delivered for more complex work. What an amazing opportunity for Instructional Designers and Trainers.

Your 2019 plan needs to include transitioning process-oriented training into chatbot systems while designing training for those “value-add tasks.”

 

2019 L&D Trends Recap

Technology is delivering more personal experiences every year. The new trends in training and development all bend towards that individual learner experience. Let’s recap.

  1. Make training easily accessible. Make sure your training is at the fingertips of your employees whenever they want it.
  2. Explore immersive technologies. Augmented and virtual reality create “real and safe” ways to help teach valuable, human-driven skills.
  3. Design for sustainment. As you plan your training strategy, include time for reinforcement, reflection, and application in the field to make your training stick.
  4. Embrace artificial intelligence and machine learning. You’re going to need help managing this truly employee-focused learning experience.
  5. Accept automation. If process-oriented tasks are going to machines, focus your training on the complex stuff only humans can do.

It can feel exciting and a bit overwhelming all at the same time.

Need help navigating these new L&D trends? Let us help. Schedule a free training consultation with one of our experts to learn how.

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